Kristian Lorenzon, Social Media Manager at O2, will be among the speakers at the Figaro Digital Marketing Conference in London on 29 November. He tells us about the perennial importance of quality content and explains why social media should be more than just a customer service channel
Figaro Digital: What do you see as the key issues likely to impact on social media over the next year or so?
Kristian Lorenzon: Content is going to become even more important, not just creating and developing it, but also integrating it into search and other channels. Then it’s about really using that content to drive engagement, acquisition and ROI. For example, integrating reviews into product pages.
Do you think brands should now be investing less in functionality on Facebook – building apps there – and focusing instead on the quality of their conversations?
To some extent. But this is something that’s naturally happening on mainstream social media channels like Facebook and Twitter anyway. It’s apparent in the way Facebook changed its timeline earlier this year, turning its focus away from applications and towards content. Generally, brands need to be creating and skimming these conversations a lot more, across all the different channels.
How would you advise brands to do that?
The best thing, and what’s been successful here at O2,is to get the emotion and the personality of the brand into the conversation; creating a social tone of voice and a brand personality which people are happy to interact with in their own private space. A lot of brands make the mistake of using social media as a broadcasting channel and not fostering conversations. Listening to customers and drawing rich insights from social data to create meaningful interactions.
How can brands ensure their social media presence evolves into more than just a customer service response?
This is really about utilising customer service as a stepping stone. So, firstly brands have to gain permission from customers – and also from non-customers – to be in their social space. Then they need to listen to what those customers say they want from social. Brands need to think about what value they can bring and what benefits they can offer to create better experiences and ultimately turn those customers into advocates.
You really want to create and feed conversations about your brand that go beyond customer service and foster what your brand actually stands for. At O2 we try to focus on creating lighthearted, topical conversations. We’re a fun brand and we like to portray that online and in terms of the extra value we offer, like #PriorityMoments. It’s about being fun and offering the customer a unique experience beyond the core offering, which in our case is mobile communications.
O2 recently experienced network problems which left customers struggling to make calls or texts, but you were praised for your response on Twitter. Tell us about that.
Yes, we have quite a large social media response team – there are about 15 people who deal with customer responses on a day-to-day basis. They’re all experts in their own right and come from a customer service background so they’re vastly experienced. What happened earlier in the year was really about us recognising that people naturally weren’t happy with the network problem. We weren’t happy about it either! But it was about making it clear that we felt their pain, and I think customers felt we were listening to them and doing our best to fix the situation.
The point is, we couldn’t just do that with one, single message. Every customer came to us with a different set of frustrations and issues and we responded to each of them individually; we tried to answer every one in our own way, with the O2 tone of voice.
What other issues or developments do you anticipate being significant over the next 12 months?
With 4G rolling out across the UK, there are going to be a lot of new opportunities. In social media that should enable us to create more mobile-centric experiences. That’s also going to tie in with the ability to use HTML5 and create more rich video content, which is particularly significant as people start to use their mobiles for absolutely everything, from social to purchasing. That’s going to provide a lot more opportunities for us to connect with our customers.In terms of mobile, it’s also going to be interesting to see how the platform war between iOS and Android continues.We’ll have to see if these platforms start to standardise and if apps and experiences start to become more compatible across different devices.
Interview by Jon Fortgang